Improv is funny and magical. Many companies who lead in innovation across all industries leverage in the simple rules of improv; brokerage leadership Teams can find great opportunities for innovation and improve just about any aspect of your business.

The key to improv is based on one simple rule: someone starts with an idea, the next person says “yes, and…”

For example:

Player 1 – Welcome to the doctors office, we have your new brain in the fridge and we are ready to do the surgery if you are.

Player 2 – Yes, I am excited but I would like to change my brain choice to change me into a man.

And so on and so forth.

There are a few keys to improv:

  • Always say yes
  • Listen and be present
  • Make other people look good
  • Embrace change and failure
  • Be positive
  • Failure VOW – if its not working – stop and start over

To get started, grab a partner and write a letter. You do not actually write the letter down, you just speak the letter.

Partner one: Dear
Partner Two: President
Partner One: Regan
Partner One: How
Partner Two: Is
Partner One: It
Partner Two: Being
Partner One: in
Partner Two: Heaven
Partner One: without
Partner Two: the
Partner One: Media

Then you just keep it going. You will find that it is easy to get on the same page with your partner; this gives you the confidence that you and your Team can use improv to innovate. It’s really fun. In this game, you and your partner create something together by applying the principles of improv. Everything your partner says in the letter is an offer that you must accept. You must listen to your partner and go with what they contribute. You are vested in working with your partner to make the letter sound great – whichever the way the letter goes.

Have your exec. team partner up and write the letter. Have them do it a few times. This is an icebreaker exercise that opens your mind to creativity and allows everyone to engage in each other and truly listen to the flow of the conversation. The information is not the important part; what is most important is the feeling that you get when your teammate is truly listening to you. It’s how you connect.

After you write the letter, there are two more exercises that you need to try – to really notice the difference. The first exercise is to say ‘no’ to every idea.

For example:

Pretend like you are going on a picnic. You suggest an item to bring and the partner needs to say “No, but we should bring _______.” Do this for a few minutes.

Then try to plan a picnic but be indifferent. You suggest an item to bring and your partner says, “Sure, whatever, I probably wouldn’t have any, but we should bring ______.” Also do this for a few minutes.

You will feel differently about the conversation when you are doing improv in the negative tone or an indifferent approach.

Now, do the same picnic exercise, but excitedly say, “Yes, and let’s bring a blanket. Yes, and let’s bring hotdogs. Yes, and lets bring ______.”

You will find that when you say yes, you will be aware and responsible for your impact and contributions to your teammates. You have a huge impact on the team when you say yes – and how you say yes – and how people feel when you say yes. The outcome of saying yes is irrelevant. It’s the way you say yes.

Brainstorming about innovation and capturing all ideas with enthusiasm will not only build your team and make everyone feel valued, but you are bound to come up with some great ideas that will allow your company to push forward toward innovative greatness. Now bring your team together. You have created intentional culture. You have put the team in a mindset.

Have the team create a tropical island. Everyone contributes an idea and everyone enthusiastically says yes.

Now, create a new sport. Give it a name, create rules, players, tactics, and so on. You will have fun. Best of all, everyone’s ideas are valued. But most importantly, you have changed your culture and created a culture of innovation.

These are the types of exercises that facilitate teamwork. It creates an environment that is right for your team.

If you need WAV Group to facilitate team building or strategic planning in your business, give us a call or shoot us an email.